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Evaluating Hydraulic Fracture Geometry from Sonic Anisotropy and Radioactive Tracer Logs

Michael P Scott, Raymond L Johnson Jr, QGC – a BG Group business; Ashish Datey, Craig Vandenborn, Schlumberger Australia Pty Ltd; Robert A Woodroof Jr, ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories


In developing a new field or reservoir, many parameters are important in understanding the success or possible areas for improvement in hydraulic fracturing. Estimating fracture geometry is essential to effectively calibrate a reservoir model to production results. Radioactive (RA) tracers have been used in hydraulic fracturing treatments to infer fracture dimensions. Three stable isotopes (i.e. Scandium, Iridium and Antimony) were used in various parts of the treatment to understand the progression of hydraulic fracture growth. Advanced sonic anisotropy logging tools, using a broader range of frequency acquisition, were used to enable shear measurement in cased hole environments over a wide range of interbedded coal, shale and sandstone sequences both before and after the hydraulic fracture treatment. Amplitude and anisotropy changes after a hydraulic fracture have been measured using sonic anisotropy logging and used to infer fracture height. Finally, the sonic anisotropy can be evaluated above and below the perforated interval and investigate hydraulic fracture height growth away from the wellbore, potentially visualising a greater distance than available with RA tracers. We will show how sonic anisotropy and radioactive tracer logging methods can be used to better understand the fracture geometry and aid further design work.

The paper will present data from two (2) wells in the Walloon Coal Measures of the Surat Basin where both RA tracers and sonic anisotropy logs were used to infer fracture dimensions. Both wells used a combination of treated water stages, containing low concentrations of proppant, followed by borate-crosslinked gelled water stages with higher concentrations of proppant. This project contained a large amount of other hydraulic fracturing diagnostics including treatment pressure history-matching, microseismic monitoring and surface tiltmeters. In this paper we will note how those diagnostics compared with the results presented herein, but their results are discussed in greater detail elsewhere (Johnson et al. 2010a). Generally, the results indicate good agreement between these two fracture diagnostic methods and the authors will illustrate the complimentary nature of these diagnostics in gaining a fuller understanding of fracture height, especially in environments of complex fracture development.

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